A fine body of young women

The Revd E C Glyn, Bishop and Peterborough, and his wife Lady Mary both wrote to their soldier son Ralph. The Bishop was anxious that his letters were not reaching Ralph:

The Palace
Peterborough
15 March [1916]

My darling Ralph

Thanks for your letters – & your news – but we long to hear what & where your next move will be.

I have written by each “bag” every week, & I can’t understand if & why you have not had a letter from me each time! Unless it is that Captain Kellet does send every letter as well as General Callwell used to do! I wonder what is to be done with General Callwell & if he will want to get you for his work somewhere?…

Lady Mary was busy with her own war work, not to mention a feud with a rival Red Cross branch.

March 15, 1916
The Palace
Peterborough

My own darling and blessing

This has been a bad week for me and there has been nothing but futile fuss, perhaps – but fuss! And I have had no leisure. Meg went to London on Thursday, and was away one night in London, and all Friday I was at the Rest Room seeing to Canteen worries…

I went to see Colonel Collingwood who has seen your reappointment as GSO General Staff vice [under] Captain Loyd, & he was much excited and wanted to know what it meant. I could only say I supposed some redistribution of work at the end of your previous work of all this winter. But it set me thinking and this week with the news of Verdun always in one’s head, with the rumours always in every paper of German naval activity, and of the mines everywhere, one knows that one needs to have a stout heart for a stae brae….
The Rest Room is crowded out some days with the troops moving about, and we had over 1100 last month. We have a splendid hand of workers night and day.

Any my Red Cross Room is such a joy – it was quite full last night and I have enough money to go on, but must soon get more; the material is very expensive, & the County Association (now definitely under Sir Edward Ward) gives no grants to these private Rooms. The Town depot now “under the War Office” and having a pompous Board announcing its connection with the British Red Cross & the “Northampton Red Cross (??)” has collected 680 pounds, and intends to get 1000£ in order to sit upon all BRC work. Not sent to the War Office – to be distributed by them, & not by our Headquarters, 83 Pall Mall. It is from here quite incomprehensible when one knows how these people have behaved, & the lies they have told to cover up the defects of their organization, but I suppose Sir Edward had to level up all sorts of abuses & get the whole into his hand before any order could be restored. And the BRC did not organize its work in time. Now the Central Work Rooms have had to move from Burlington House to 48 Gros: Square & they have taken that big corner house for six months.

Sir George Pragnell’s death has been a blow, as I felt safe behind him from further attack – but the Stores Manager at 83 is so delighted with the work we have now sent up that our position will be assured. Another enemy – not me – quashed!

It is a complication that the Lady Doctor who is our splendid and most efficient Superintendent is expecting to add to the population!

And I think it is an admirable school for her as she is a most ardent suffragist and just at present her equality with man is not easy to demonstrate for public work, though she is a marvel of pluck & of endurance – all day on her bicycle up to now, doing panel work, and such brains and power of trained ability in everything she does. Behind her is the St John’s Brigade she has trained, who are the workers for my Red Cross; and she has collected a really fine body of young women who work in shops all day or work rooms, & give their evening to this & other Brigade training….

Yesterday was the announcement of B Palmer’s death “in a Turkish Camp”….

“Peggy” Finch is here, a really delightful person and good, & a sports woman. Everyone likes & gets on with her, quite clear & strongly good – & doing all sorts of work for the Diocese. She has seen a good deal of Florence Chaplin, staying with her sister at Vabham. The ménage seems there to be happier and Lady Londonderry doing all sorts of things in connection with women labour on the land, & Lord Selborne came to speak at Northampton on that last week. Miss Cartwright who is here is also hard at work at Brackley, & she sits on a tribunal & is most amusing about the men who come & ask for exemptions for their employees. One was a Butcher who said his wife & daughters could not possibly help him to sell meat on Saturdays. “Why not? If they cannot – I can”, & so Bunty works & pulls the strings.

Letters to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C2/3)

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